I’ve noticed that many saints have a mistaken idea that if I keep the commandments of God, He will bless my life with health, and peace, and all will be perfect. This thinking is a form of a prosperity gospel. The truth is, Heavenly Father blesses us constantly, and we gain His favor as we keep His Commandments. As we turn our lives to Christ, He does bless us, and because the Lord loves us, He will certainly grow us. Often our greatest blessings are in disguise, as trials, heartaches, sorrow, and pain.
In these trials, we are pushed to reach for Him and that’s exactly what He wants from us. Romans 12:12 tells us to, Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. In the midst of Trials He expects us to thank Him and rejoice in the Lord, giving thanks in all circumstances we find ourselves.
Philippians 4:4 says, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we are reminded to, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I, as a mother of 15 was always working and often thought of myself as a workhorse. I could outwork my kids and often, even my husband. When trials came my way, my coping mechanism was to work. When sorrow came, I would work. One day, the Lord is gracious and wonderful and took away my health and strength. I felt as if my legs had been kicked out from underneath me. I felt I was left with nothing, but in reality, God didn’t want me leaning on my own strength, He wanted me to lean wholly on Him. It was a hard transition, I cried, I complained, and I couldn’t see the good in it. All the things I thought were important were let go. Slowly, (only because I am hard-headed,) I reached for Him. He became my strength, He became my friend. He showed me what was important. One of the hardest things I went through brought me closer to my God and Savior. Rejoicing in blessings is important in our gospel. We need to count all we go through as blessings.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Heavenly Father wants spiritually strong people. He wants grateful people. Whether we like it or not, we grow when we suffer.
Romans 5:3-5 explains, Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Simply put… God wants us to become better, stronger, and faithful. Sometimes we confuse rejoicing with happiness. David A. Bednar speaks to this, “A common dictionary definition of joy is “a feeling of great pleasure [or] happiness.” In comparison, the Guide to the Scriptures describes joy as a condition of great happiness [that results] from righteous living. Interestingly, our gospel perspective helps us to understand that joy is more than a fleeting feeling or emotion; rather, it is a spiritual gift and a state of being and becoming.” He continues, “Joy can endure through times and experiences both good and bad, because of our knowledge of the Father’s plan and of the Savior’s Atonement.”
It seems a bit crazy to rejoice while we suffer, but that is exactly how we begin to feel the Joy that is everlasting. This is not to say that we should look for suffering or make suffering our flag of righteousness. Suffering is a tool that the Lord uses in His time and for His will.
We sing in our Hymn, Come, Come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way. ’Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive; Do this, and in joy, your hearts will swell—All is well! All is well!
This beautiful Christmas season we have every reason to be joyous. We can with Adam exclaim, “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life, I shall have joy, and again in the flesh, I shall see God” (Moses 5:10) This Christmas season, as we sing Joy to the World, let our hearts make room and fully rejoice in the Glad tidings of great joy that He brings to all mankind. ”And Joy to the world, the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King! …Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy.